Favorite Contouring Products
Contouring is a technique that sculpts the face, creating an optical illusion of shadows which can slim, widen, enhance, or diminish features on the face. It is most popular in the film industry, and used on actors and celebrities on the red carpet to enhance their features and give them a more sculpted look. Its one of those things that people go crazy for, and is often described something that is like ‘plastic surgery without the surgery’ - but its important to keep in mind that it is only an optical illusion (as all makeup techniques are) and you can only work with what you’ve got.
Contouring can only enhance or shape what is already there, and even though it can give you cheekbones you never thought you could have and slim your nose into a more appealing shape, its not permanent and takes a lot of practice and the proper technique for it to be effective.
Another thing to keep in mind is that contouring looks fabulous in photos, but does not always come across so pretty in real life. Contouring is most effective when done with completely matte products with cool undertones and that look grey (like a shadow). However, walking around with huge grey stripes down the sides of your face is not always very flattering. I prefer to use products with more neutral undertones as they still look nice in real life, and aren’t as harsh.
Contouring palettes are something that have become hugely popular, and before purchasing one its important to really think about if the colors will suit your skin tone. One palette may work perfectly for one person, but not show up at all or be too dark for someone else. A lot of companies offer customizable palettes, which are a much better option as you’ll be able to choose colors that suit you as well as ones which you will actually use.
A really helpful blog post I found was one written by one of my favorite makeup artists on Instagram, SoniaxFyza, which explains how to choose the right tones to contour with for your skin tone. Have a read of it and if you are stuck on which palette or colors to purchase, this can be really helpful. Listed below are some of my favorite products to contour with. If you have any other questions please feel free to ask!
Kat Von D Shade & Light Palette
This is one of those things I don’t know how I used to do my makeup without! I heard the hype around it and was skeptical as almost all contour palettes are raved about at one point and then become irrelevant as something new and better comes out, but I continually heard good reviews and decided to try it myself. I purchased mine from Sephora with a few other bits and I’m so glad I finally got it. (Sephora now ships to the UK and P&P is roughly £20, so saving up and buying multiple things or making a group order with friends is the best way of doing it and making it worth the money).
The colors are absolutely beautiful, are so creamy, and blend out like a dream. This palette offers a range of colors which can be used for people who are quite fair (NC15/NW15) up to people who are more tan (NC42/NW35). The three contour shades are gorgeous, and offer a more warm color for bronzing, a more neutral color for contouring, and a deeper cooler color for a more intense contour. I use a mixture of the warm color to bronze and the medium cool color to define my contour. I haven’t yet used the deepest color as I’m saving it for a night out when I’m super self tanned and want a more intense look, but I’ve tested it out as an eyeshadow and its equally as nice as the others! These powders will last through an apocalypse, at the end of the night when everything else has melted off my face - my contour and highlight are just as strong as when I first applied them.
FINAL RATING - 10/10
Anastasia Beverly Hills Customizable Powder Contour Kit
This could possibly be one of the most hyped up makeup products to ever exist. Originally the first palette that was released was the one pictured above, however I knew I didn’t like a lot of the colors in it and waited for the customizable version to be released. You can purchase it on the Anastasia Beverly Hills website, thats where I got mine from.
When I ordered in the past, postage was reasonable and it arrived very quickly. However I recently made an order where I purchased a few of the new Liquid Lipsticks and the Cream Contour Palette, and have had an absolute nightmare with it. It took over 2 months to arrive to the UK, and when it finally did I was sent a note saying I owed over £20 in customs charges. I was so annoyed as I had already paid shipping costs, and decided I would let it be sent back to the US and get a refund when they receive it. I still want the Cream Contour Kit but I’m not paying over £40 for P&P! Just be careful when you order from the US site as its quite hit or miss. I would recommend purchasing from Cult Beauty, which is a UK stockiest that also carries all of her other products. This site will also stock the Cream Contour Kit soon, so when they do and I order mine I’ll do another review of that.
The consistency of these powders are slightly dryer than I expected, but they do still blend nicely. Depending on what colors you choose, you can really create something that works perfectly for your skin tone. The contour shades are gorgeous, and I chose colors which I knew I would get a lot of use out of. I chose colors similar to the ones already in the KVD Palette, one shade to bronze, one to contour, and a darker color to contour for when I’m more tan. The Banana powder was the one I was most excited about, but I actually don’t like it as much as I thought I would as its not as pigmented or creamy as I would like.
FINAL RATING - 7/10
Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder in Light Medium 1
I purchased this product after hearing such great reviews by YouTubers, and I’m very glad I did get it as its quickly become one of my everyday necessities. The color is absolutely perfect - its not too dark or too warm, and works equally as well as a bronzer as it does as a contour powder. I think what makes it so versatile is the particular shade of the powder, as it does come in a few other colors. Its very neutral and doesn’t have any shimmer or glitter, and the texture is incredibly buttery and easy to blend. I find sometimes when I wear a more dewy full coverage foundation, that I have to set the areas I’m going to be contouring with a powder (which defeats the purpose of the dewy foundation) because powders typically don’t blend very easily on top of a wet foundation. This however works great on any of the foundations I use, no matter how dewy or thick it is. It never looks muddy or too obvious, and is a great every day product.
FINAL RATING - 10/10
NARS Bronzing Powder in Laguna
I am not ashamed to say I bought this purely because of the packaging. I am obsessed with NARS products and have a special drawer on my vanity dedicated to all my NARS products (sad, I know) and needed this one to go with my other NARS bits. I definitely did not need another bronzer, but I’ve always heard such great things so decided to treat myself. It’s not as amazing as I was expecting it to be, and it does have some shimmer in it. Its not particularly warm, and comes across as quite a natural contour on the skin but I can see tiny bits of shimmer when its under natural light and I don’t really like that. I love shimmery products but when it comes to contouring I want a 110% matte color with no shine at all. I do really enjoy this for bronzing, and get quite a lot of use out of it.
FINAL RATING - 6/10